by Ifreke Inyang
Liverpool’s record has been broken. Manchester United won the 2010-11 Premier League last Saturday after securing the draw they needed against Blackburn Rovers to win their 19th top flight title. It wasn’t pretty, but Manchester United managed to grab the goal they needed to tie 1-1 in somewhat controversial circumstances.
The controversy resulted from Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez making a run into the box in the 70th minute. He managed to poke the ball ahead of him just a split second before Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson made contact with the Mexican striker, bringing Hernandez down in the box. Phil Dowd didn’t make an immediate decision but sought the input from his assistant referee who was closest to the incident. A penalty was then awarded. And up stepped Wayne Rooney to score, securing the draw and winning the title for Manchester United.
The foul by Robinson on Hernandez was a cruel blow for Blackburn. Robinson made a poor decision to rush out for the ball, but when Robinson made contact with Hernandez, Chicharito made the most of it and dived. There was no way that Hernandez could have run on to the ball if Robinson hadn’t made contact, but with contact being made, the decision was inevitable that Dowd would award the penalty. Ultimately I believe Dowd made the correct decision.
The incident reminded me of a similar instance that happened in August 2009 when Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford after Wayne Rooney ran into the box but poked the ball ahead of him before Manuel Almunia knocked Rooney to the ground. But again, Rooney made the most of the dive as Chicharito did last weekend.
Now that Manchester United has won the title, they’ll undoubtedly rest most of their key players for this Sunday’s final game of the season against Blackpool. The Seasiders, who beat Bolton 4-3 in a wonderful match on Sunday, will play United at Old Trafford on the final day of the season. Blackpool will have a golden chance of staying in the Premier League. But that’s unfair for the other teams in the relegation zone who may go down because of Blackpool’s good fortune.
While the scrap at the bottom is far from over, that at the top is at least settled. And really, over the course of the season, Manchester United are deserved champions. Congratulations to them and their supporters. Securing the 19th title in their history will definitely push Liverpool next season into pushing as hard as they can to equal United and get their 19th title.